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House Democrats unveil bill creating panel to assess president's 'capacity'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol on October 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US House Democrats have unveiled legislation that allows the formation of a panel tasked with assessing a president's capacity to perform the job and potentially ousting the head of state in cases of confirmed inability.

Introduced on Friday, the bill invokes the 25th Amendment, which empowers the US Congress to create "a body" that can remove a president deemed "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

The 17-member panel is charged with judging the president's fitness and says the vice president would take over in case the top executive figure was removed from power due to deficiencies and incapacity.

Although the Democrats in the House said the commission would be permanent and apply to future administrations, it serves as a clear shot at President Donald Trump, whose approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic as well as his own treatments for the virus have raised questions about his mental state.

"This is not about President Trump; he will face the judgment of the voters," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters. "But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents."

The legislation — dismissed by Republicans as a political stunt — has no chance of being enacted, with Congress on recess and the Senate and White House currently controlled by Republicans.

Pelosi had a day earlier previewed the unveiling and the move was only expected to energize the Democratic base ahead of the November 3 elections.

On October 1, Trump announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and a day after was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. However, he left the hospital on Monday and went back to the White House.

Landing at the White House on Marine One, Trump removed his face mask and declared he feels great.

Pelosi has put into question the status of the president’s health, as well as exactly how long he has had the coronavirus.                                                           

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